06 Jan When Your Husband Reads Your Memoir
My husband is not a voracious reader; he’s a music man, DJ by profession and passion. As I’ve worked on my memoir, Promenade of Desire, over the last six years or so, he never asked to read the manuscript and that was okay. Truthfully, I was a little scared of his reaction because my youth was quite… ahem…eventful.
Recently I printed my memoir in book format for a final read and he asked to read it as well.
The first question he asked me when he finished was, “Have you had any lovers?” I was shocked. We’ve been married almost 25 years and committed to monogamy. I guess the passionate woman on the pages of the book made him think I needed lots of excitement just to feel alive.
Once I reassured him, we had several rich conversations about my past and how it has affected our relationship. It was a gift to unveil myself so deeply, and be accepted for what I am and, above all, what I was.
Luis comes from a very traditional family. I heard my mother-in-law say dozens of times, “Donde va la tambora, va el tambor.” “Where the conga goes, the bongó follows,” meaning a woman is expected to always be with her man and follow him no matter what he does. Being a very independent, modern woman with a streak of rebelliousness, this didn’t sit well with me; my husband’s jealousy on the first years of our marriage—even though I never went beyond playful flirting on the salsa dance floor—didn’t either. That he was able to take the heat in my story with equanimity and, on top of that, love my book, speaks about how much he’s grown as a person, and how much our relationship has matured. What a relief!
Now my 19-year-old son has requested to read the memoir as well. I warned him that there is quite a lot of sex and a lot of alcohol, which is not great role modeling, but he insisted. He has a good head on his shoulders, so I hope he will cope well.
The ultimate fear, however, is for my siblings to read the book (my parents are deceased). I come from a very private and laconic family; there might be hurt feelings or even anger as a few uncomfortable secrets are revealed and I speak honestly about the aches of my upbringing. In my mind, however, this memoir is a gift to them. As Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Perhaps this book will spark fruitful conversations, and if it doesn’t, I am fine with it.